Taking a break from the travel diaries to write down a recipe that has been a bit of a lifesaver for me this year. It tastes like comfort food, it’s full of vegetables, it creates copious leftovers, and it takes maybe ten minutes of preparation time. Probably less, really. And because the vegetables are all soft, I can even make it when my wrist is acting up and doesn’t want me to chop things.
You can serve it with all sorts of things, really. It goes with bread and hummus (or you can fling some chickpeas in to bake with the rest of the ratatouille), or grilled haloumi (which you can also chop into chunks and throw in to bake for the last ten minutes); with roasted or boiled potatoes and felafel or grilled fish or chicken; it’s great over giant couscous (again, with chickpeas), or stirred through pasta, or even made into a bake with bocconcini and more pasta.
You can serve it hot, or warm, or at room temperature. Tonight, I’ll be serving it hot with some little pies from Zaatar – lamb, and haloumi, and spinach. And probably with some roast potatoes because everything is better with roast potatoes, especially when you are eating super late because it took nearly two hours to get home from work and your husband hasn’t even managed to leave work yet and it’s nearly 9pm…
This is not as fancy as my other ratatouille recipe, but it tastes very nearly as good and takes far less time. It’s Friday night-worthy, which is really saying something, especially after a fortnight like the one I’ve had, with lots of stress and very little sleep. (Though one of my scientists did bring me cake to cheer me up, which was possibly the nicest thing anyone has done for me ever.)
Oh, and it doesn’t create a lot of washing up, either. Just one giant baking dish. There’s really nothing not to like, unless you are entirely anti-vegetable.
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3 large capsicums, preferably in different colours
2 red onions
2 medium zucchini
1 largeish eggplant
400g cherry tomatoes
500ml – 750 ml (whatever size bottle you have) tomato passata
(I know these amounts are very vague. It really is a sprinkle of this and a sprinkle of that, and it is very much to taste. If you don’t have lavender salt, a pinch of salt with some culinary lavender is good, or skip the lavender and add a little fennel, and rather more rosemary. It will be fine.)